Undercurrents

Teens who like punk rock have a power base of about nothing. Therefore, when their interests go up against strip mall landlords and insurance companies, their chances of coming out on top are nil. This could lead to a nihilistic approach to life or a punk philosophy of "Hey, who cares, we can't win if we try."

Case in point: Just as kids in Broward are screaming for a safe and entertaining place to go, a nonthreatening music scene gets shut down hard by the powers that be, partially because of a story in the Sun-Sentinel.

The kiddie punk-rock venue was Dad's Donuts in Margate. The teenyboppers would gather there on a weekend night and listen to some garage band cacophony, all the while sipping sodas and munching donuts. No alcohol, no drugs, no complaints, and therefore no cops.

We wrote about this unique use of a donut shop, and nothing adverse happened. Months later the Sun-Sentinel for some reason lumps the place in with teen scenes that mimic adult clubs, and everyone is concerned about potential problems.

The mall landlord who read the story says the music-teen combo is a violation of the lease and threatens to evict; an insurance executive who saw the story cites "added hazards" as a reason to threaten the cancellation of the liability policy.

If the donut shop owner, Buddy Crawford, had a Mexican restaurant with a strolling mariachi band, would the landlord allow it? Yes. How about donuts with a side of punk rock? Absolutely not. That's because those punkers have an attitude about authority. And now we know exactly why.

Crawford has stopped the music and adds, "It's the kids who always get screwed."

"I am not a politician," Harvey Meltzer announced to the mayor and the Fort Lauderdale City Commission in explaining why he should be selected to fill the seat being vacated by District 1 Commissioner John Aurelius.

While such utterances have become cliche for veteran politicos ever since Ross Perot first sprouted up on Larry King Live, Meltzer is apparently telling the truth. The 76-year-old activist, dressed in a lime green sport coat, offered a somewhat dire take on the state of Fort Lauderdale last week, not exactly endearing himself to the current city leadership.

The retired talent agent, who claims Woody Allen as one of his former clients, then sealed his electoral fate by not bothering to stick around for the results of the vote by commissioners, which narrowed the field. Meltzer's exit was prompted by a display of blatant politicking that reached nauseating levels. It seems each candidate was allowed to have friends and family come forward to opine publicly on why their favorite candidate deserved to be appointed. Yuck. Former mayor Bob Cox was so offended by the process, he gave a dressing down to the commissioners for allowing it.

Meltzer had also apparently seen enough. "I'm leaving," he fumed. "I can't stand this." Meltzer got just one vote from the commissioners, knocking him out of the running for the post. (The final selection of a replacement is being made as we go to press.)

"I thought that whole procedure was a disgrace," Meltzer told New Times. "To me that was tantamount to being in a zoo."

-- as told to Tom Walsh

Got a tip? Call 954-233-1581, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail undercurrents@newtimesbpb.com.

 
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